The Facepalm

Publishing Veritas Academy's finest facepalm moments

Month: August, 2014

Chris and Jefff

by facepalmforever




My ninth graders and I are working through the progymnasmata this year. The first exercise is writing a fable that evokes a moral. I have elected to write alongside my students whenever I can. Here is the fable I wrote. Please forgive any scientific inaccuracies (I don’t know if fish have eyelids. Nor do I know if salmon ever venture into the sea. I also don’t know when, exactly, salmon swim upstream. Am I going to go through the trouble of googling it? Nope.).


Chris and Jefff

Alaska, we all know, is filled with crystal streams which are, in turn, filled with fish. Two salmon, Chris and Jefff, didn’t notice the slight chill in the air one September morning.  This was probably because they were under water. Anyone who knows salmon knows that it was just about time to start swimming upstream to find girlfriends before the winter set in for good. True, in this temperate part of Alaska their stream would never truly freeze, but it was a good idea, nonetheless.

“You heading upstream, Chris?” asked Jefff as his tail twitched eagerly from left to right.

“Nope,” answered Chris, trying to look as nonchalant as possible. “I’m just going to go with the flow.”

Jefff tried to conceal his amazement, which didn’t need concealing anyway since fish don’t have eyelids. They always look surprised. Chris continued, looking surprised, “Every year we bust our fins to get upstream to find girlfriends, and what do we get for it? Nothing but trouble. Not only are we tired, but we have to deal with the womenfolk. Not this year. I’m headed out to sea.”

Jefff, looking amazed, wondered at his friend and, after twenty minutes of fruitless rhetoric, decided to leave him be. Chris always had crazy ideas.

So Chris went to sea, thinking all the while how smart he was, how surprised he looked, and how pleasant it was to go down stream. Once he reached the ocean he started to think how salty it was, then how large that fish was. Then he wondered how a fish could ever grow such large teeth. Then he was eaten.

Jefff, on the other hand, worked intrepidly for his own sake, and that of his species, swimming dutifully upstream. He spent his time thinking how difficult the going was, and thinking about how he was such a hard worker and such a well behaved salmon. As he leapt from one pool to the next, higher up, though, he was snatched by a bear that devoured his dutiful little fish body instantly.

The moral? Work hard or not, we all die. Deal with it.

Have a great day!

-Mr. H



by facepalmforever




On Friday, a student describes her dream to me:

“A team of scientists was using a picture of me to prove that we evolved from goats. I was so offended that I woke up.”


by facepalmforever



I asked the students to write a public service announcement that championed a ridiculous cause. The great tragedy of this post is that you, my reader, won’t see the pictures they drew. The one of whaling in Nebraska is particularly fantastic. It has tractors. Without further ado, here are some of my favorites:


  • “Nebraskans, whaling is illegal. Please stop hunting whales in Nebraska. It is against the law, and it reduces the population of whales in Nebraska.”
  • “Rhode Islandians, please stop cooking your cats for dinner, or you will be forced to leave your homes immediately. Studies have shown that eating cats can be bad for both you and your cats’ health.”
  • “The neighborhood of Old Oak, please stop cutting each others’ toenails and leaving them angled straight up on your sidewalks and porches in rows. I know you are scared of the mailman, but he really means no harm when delivering you your bills. It’s only his job.”
  • “EVERYONE IN ANTARCTICA, THIS IS AN IMPORTANT MESSAGE: *stop wearing coats*. Polar bears are jealous of your stunning coats and are attacking people everywhere!! HIDE YOUR kids HIDE your wives because it’s a jungle out there! (Local Bonfire tonight to burn all coats)”
  • “Islanders beware, raging whirlpools are draining unplugged bathtubs. “
  • “Please stop ordering strange pets. The bats are driving people crazy & lions react strongly to doorbells & mailmen. “
  • “Friends, Romans, Countrymen, four score and seven years ago, I had a dream. That dream is to end the public tree whippings. Leaf them alone. They have no way to stick up for themselves. I know what you are thinking: ‘it’s too early for lunch and too late for breakfast, maybe we can have some Branch!’ That is racist. Stop barking up the wrong tree. Let us end this problem at its roots! Willow Smith agrees with us! You must be the soil to plant the end of this obamination! It is pine by me if you disagree, just help us! For the children! Do I have tree volunteers?”
  • “Attention: all men & women of Bagosha! Next time it rains cats & dogs please stay inside your houses; the hospital is getting too many patients with scratches all over their faces.”
  • “Canadians, I am sorry to say, but pouring maple syrup in the snow is extremely toxic and is bad for your health. The water molecules in the snow are aggravated by the molasses in the syrup. When this happens, the molasses ages at an extreme rate, making the syrup poisonous. When a Canadian eats their frozen syrup-on-s-stick, it puts them into an altered state. This state induces people into being extremely nice to each other and not being hated by other countries. It’s fatal. – Dr. E.G. Sugarbottom”
  • “Try Mountain Climbing! Fun! Local! Free! (brought to you by the Kansas Parks & Rec Department)”
  • “Every day, millions of poor, innocent lamps are bullied by their peers and their humans. They are called impostors, outsiders, losers. But what did lamps ever do to us? Lamps are a vital part of society, and because of our mistreatment, the rate of bulbicides has increased by thirty percent. So please, be kind to your lamps today. Give it a shade that makes it feel beautiful. Use eco-friendly bulbs. Soon enough, lamps will become full-fledged members of society, and we want to welcome them with open sockets. THE MORE YOU KNOW”
  • an excerpt: “I am here to say that the old times are gone and our way of living has evolved out of the need to let our children ride pigs. This action is dangerous and 5 of our very own citizens have paid the price.”
  • “Kentucky, please stop feeding fish food to your freshmen. Fisherman, please stop marketing your used fishing nets as ‘calming backyard hammocks’; the fatalities are causing lawsuits.”